H. J. HIGGINS, is of the firm of Higgins & Co., marble and granite manufacturers, Bloomington, who are transacting an extensive and profitable business. Their main office is located on East Front street and occupies Nos. 227 and 229. The subject of this biography was born in Georgetown, Ohio, in 1840. His parents were Hon. John J. and Martha C. (Hetterick) Higgins, the father of Maryland and the mother of Virginia. John J. Higgins was an attorney at law and successfully practiced in the various courts of Ohio. He was prominently identified with the politics of that State, being elected a member of the Legislature and holding the offices of County Judge and Sheriff of Brown County.
The grandfather of our subject, Col. Robert Higgins, was one of the stanch old veterans of 1876, and contributed his full share toward the emancipation of the colonies. After this was effected he purchased over 1,000 acres of land in Southern Ohio. He had previously been a slave-holder, but becoming disgusted with the peculiar institution, gave to his slaves their liberty. He was a man of prominence and closely identified with political affairs in the early history of the Buckeye State. He practiced law and served as District Judge, and spent the main part of his life at Higginsport, which was named after him.
John J. Higgins, the father of our subject, was the youngest son of his parents and died in Ohio in 1857. His wife survived him until 1873. Of their family of eleven children, seven are now living, viz., Robert, Mary, Annie, Lydia, Mattie, Hamer J. and Sallie. All are residents of Ohio except our subject.
Hamer J. Higgins remained at home until twenty-one years of age and until after graduating from the High School. About that time the war came on and at the first call for troops he enlisted in the three years' service in the 59th Ohio Infantry, and afterward re-enlisted in the 192d Ohio Infantry, remaining in the army until the surrender of Lee. During this time he was in twenty-nine pitched battles. He enlisted as a private and was mustered out as First Lieutenant. He was at Shiloh, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge and through the entire Atlanta campaign, fighting 120 successive days before the fall of Atlanta.
At the close of his military career young Higgins returned to Ohio and was appointed Deputy Clerk of the Common Pleas Court, which position he filled for two years, and then in 1868 came to Illinois. He commenced here with a capital of $10 in cash, and after an experience of eight years, part of which time was spent in traveling, he established his present business in 1876. The beautiful marble front building, a part of which is occupied as his business office, was erected in 1886. He keeps two men on the road and the whole force of employees ranges from eighteen to twenty-five men. His present status in the business community as will be seen is due to his own persevering energy. He commenced at the foot of the latter and his present position is his just reward.
Mr. Higgins was married in Bloomington in 1870, to Miss Alice De Vore, a native of his own State and daughter of Jackson and Hannah De Vore. Of their union there have been born eight children Mattie, Frank, Elmo, Maude, Charles, Ina, Robert and Lilian. Mr. Higgins is Republican in politics, and socially is identified with the I. O. O. F., the G. A. R. and A. O. U. W.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 202-32. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards